[White text on a black screen reads: Sarah Bodman, Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research, UK.]
[A white screen shows the logos for the State Library of Victoria and the State Government of Victoria.]
[A black and white newsprint background is screenprinted with an image of a set of red scales. White text on a red background reads: State Library of Victoria. Books of all stripes: artists' publishing in the 21st century. Sarah Bodman. On the left side of the screen are sponsor's logos for: Melbourne Writers Festival, Stories Unbound, Print Council of Australia Inc, Impact 7, the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne: City of Literature, Monash University, and the State Government of Victoria.]
[A dark-haired woman stands at a podium.]
Sarah Bodman: What I thought I would do, I'd like to show you just some examples of books which I think are quite lovely or exciting or funny. I haven't put in any Australian books because you had the talk about Australian books earlier in the program. So these are just examples of how artists are working with publishing in other parts of the world. So, Books of all stripes. So first of all, I'm going to show you some artists who've made books about books themselves. This is Karen Hanmer's.
[A red-bound book titled Random passions appears beside open pages which are covered with the traced outlines of kissing couples. The caption reads: 'Random passions, Karen Hanmer, USA. Couples from romance novel covers traced on translucent paper layer together and multiple new combinations emerge. Laser prints on 'vellum' paper, pamphlet in case binding covered with velvet finish book cloth, hot stamped title. 2008. www.karenhanmer.com']
Sarah: She's an American artist who works also extensively with fine binding. But this is her Random passions, where she's gone through romance novels and traced all the couples of the covers and made this lovely, kind of translucent book so you can flip the couples over so that they can snog each other, I suppose.
This is Amir Brito Cadôr.
[A book with a black cover bears the title A night visit to the library in large white letters. The open pages beside it feature four black rectangles of different dimensions. Each rectangle is labelled with a book's publishing details. The caption reads: 'A night visit to the library, Amir Brito Cador, 2011. www.flickr.com/photos/amirbrito/ http://gramatologia.blogspot.com']
Sarah: He's a Brazilian artist and writer. He has actually written extensively on artists' books but it's mostly published in Portuguese. This is his version called A night visit to the library, where he's actually made silhouettes of his favourite artists' books at night so that you can only kind of distinguish what they are by their size or their relation to each other. So this is some of them.
[Another set of four black rectangles from Amir Brito Cador's book is shown.]
Sarah: And this is Edith Derdyk. She's a Brazilian artist as well. She does traditional kind of artists' books but she makes these enormous, amazing sculptures as well. And this is one book where she's actually treated the words as threads, so what she's saying is those kind of two big pages are the covers of the book and the thread is the text that she's kind of forced in between them. Her work is absolutely lovely. And if you look on her website – I think on the handout there's a list of everyone's websites – but there's loads more images of her big sculptural works on there.
This is Colin Sackett. He's a British artist. He's been making books probably for about 15, 20 years now. This is his kind of seminal book, Black Bob. This is the second edition of it 'cause he made it first and it just sold out really quickly. But it's all about ... it's based on ... I think that it was part of a comic strip in one of the daily newspapers about Black Bob and his faithful sheepdog, but this is about reading – all of Colin Sackett's work is about nature, landscape and the English language – how words kind of merge with landscape. So this book, essentially it's the same image all the way through but it's about the way your eyes are directed sort of through Bob – through the shepherd to Bob – and then back down the waterfall. So it's kind of held ... They come together when they shouldn't do,'cause in a book, things should flow normally.
This is Barb Tetenbaum. I absolutely love this book. It's called A very exciting short short story, vibrantly illustrated with woodcuts. There are no images in it whatsoever. The text kind of just describes this kind of happening event and then you get things like,'The police are called. See image over.' So it's just a really funny book.
And this is one of Sarah Ranchouse Publications' books. Sarah Ranchouse is an amazing publisher. She's been publishing her own artist's books and other artists' work for probably 25, 30 years now. And this is Eve Rhymer. They do a lot of work with existing fiction, a lot of work with romance novels.
[On the cover of a book, a man holds a swooning woman who's wearing an old-fashioned green dress. The curled script on the cover reads: 'An adult romance for the post structuralist woman, Karen Reimer writing as Eve Rhymer, Legendary, lexical, loquacious love.' The pages of the partially opened book are covered with the word 'his' written in neat columns. The caption reads: 'Legendary, lexical, loquacious love, Karen Reimer, writing as Eve Rhymer, Sara Ranchouse Publications, USA. An alphabetised romance novel taking all of the words in an existing published romance novel and sorting them alphabetically. "I wondered how the love story would exist without a narrative structure/plot. I used the alphabet – an arbitrary, non-hierarchical ordering convention – for its objective unemotional character, which places it at odds with the subjective emotional character of romance novels. I wanted to see whether, if I put a romance novel's cover on it, it would be possible to read an alphabetical list of words as a love story. I think it is." www.sararanchouse.com']
Sarah: I think Sarah Ranchouse said her philosophy is recycling language one word at a time. What they do is they make and produce these books that look like a normal book that you would find in an airport. On the carousels you might pick up this book and think you're gonna read it, just like any other novel. But Eve Rhymer, she took the whole ... all the text out of the book and then rearranged it so it's all alphabetical so it makes no sense whatsoever but it just flows through the book.
This is Sally. If you look on the handout, we did an interview with her in Chicago in 2008, I think, and she was showing us around her amazing studio with all her books.
[A photo shows a dark-haired woman wearing a white jacket. The jacket is covered with horizontal clear pouches. A close-up on the left reveals the pouches are stuffed with the shredded yellowing pages of books. A caption reads: 'Book jacket by Sally Alatalo, insulated with shredded romance novels.']
Sarah: And this is her jacket – she calls it her romance jacket – and you can see it's insulated with kind of shredded romance novels, so it's, like, keeping her warm. So she quite often will wear that when she's doing a performance reading of one of her books. And this, this is amazing – this is her Rearranged affair.
[Three identical books with thick yellowing pages sit in a casually arranged pile. Their white covers are decorated with gold swirls, and in the centre, a large dark circle has a double border of gold. The caption reads: 'A rearranged affair, by Anita M-28 (Sally Alatalo's romance persona name) www.sararanchouse.com']
Sarah: And she's got this theory that if you read romance fiction ... I don't know if you have, like, Mills & Boon here, but there's a set pattern for writing a story. So if someone pitches a story to you, then they give them the formula, so it's, like, man meets woman, have great time, then they split up and then they get back together again, the end. So she took a hundred different romance books, all paperback from the same company, and she took them all apart and then rearranged the pages so every one still went from page one to 264 but they were all pages from different books. So the idea was that although they jumped from, like, 20th-century France to Austria, from a car to a horse and carriage, that, essentially, the way the books are written, the pattern works so the story is always the same.
This is Michael Ryan. He's a kind of graphic designer and book artist. And in 2003, there were lots of, like, really crazy headlines about the kind of invasion of Iraq, so he made this series of books called Smoking guns and desert rats, where he took the kind of more extreme headlines and just made them into this series of kind of crazy text ... books. They're really good. And Tony Kemplen ...
[On the cover of a bright yellow book, red text reads: 'Tony Kemplen, Kubla can't: An out of series edition of Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge'. The transluscent pages are filled with large clumsy letters printed in black outlined text. Many of the words are jumbled of letters. The caption reads: 'Kubla can't, Tony Kemplen, UK. The words of Coleridge's poem were set using a low-tech toy version of the letterpress process; as characters ran out, substitutions were made and the text gradually lost all meaning. Published by Ring Pull Press, 1996. www.kemplen.co.uk']
Sarah: He's actually ... He doesn't make books so much anymore. He's moved on to kind of more digital publishing. This is one of his earlier books called Kubla can't, where he actually took Kubla Khan and he typed it out on a child's typewriter – on a little plastic typewriter. So the idea was that as the keys kind of stopped working or the letters fell off, he just kept going until he just ended up with this kind of illegible mess. But this is what he's doing at the moment. So he does these walks ... I've got a laser pen, look. [Laughs]
[The word 'Sheffield' appears at the top of a faded street map. Certain streets are traced out in thick unsteady yellow lines. The lines also form clumsy letters that read, 'Go back to London, Tony boy'. Street names appear beside most of the letters. The caption reads, 'Tony Kemplen, UK. Using the GPS tracking on my mobile phone, I made a series of short walks in central Sheffield in the run up to the Lib Dem spring conference in 2011. The 21 walks spell out a message to Nick Clegg from the streets of Sheffield. The individual walks can be seen here: http://on.fb.me/puSYPY.']
Sarah: So, basically, he's done these walks around Sheffield, so he goes down different streets. So that's one walk. And then he uses them to spell out messages to people. So this is when our Liberal Democrats and Tory Party had their conference there. So this was his message to Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dems. So it's like, 'Go back to London, Tory boy'. He's got loads of them on his website and I've made, like, a kind of tiny little URL on the handout. There's lots of different messages he's done through walking.
There's this amazing artist called Earle D Swope. He's just written an essay for us in our Publication of the year book about how he actually became a book artist.
[A slim spiral notebook has a cover of rough green paper. It bears the title Halliburton code of ethics, printed in black. The pages are transparent. On the open page, the single paragraph reads, '3. Halliburton will only charge the costs of expenses when supporting the recovery effort of a natural disaster affecting US citizens on US soil.' The caption reads, 'Halliburton code of ethics, Earle D Swope, USA. A sardonic look at Halliburton. The text block of purported ethics is printed upon water-soluble dissolvo® paper. Coil bound like a corporate report between thin green sponges, the ethics perilously exist. The boards/wraps are slick acetate that nothing can adhere to. All components of the book are metaphorical representations of Halliburton's absolute greed and willingness to sacrifice anything in the pursuit of more. Published by The Shock and Awe Press (in French script of course). Acetate, sponge, dissolvo® paper, 2006. earleswope.com']
Sarah: He was actually a fireman. He was in charge of crew dives, where they have to train how to dive into ice and rescue people. He's based in the US. And he was leading a kind of training session where he actually led the session, he went down under the ice, and to all intents and purposes, he actually died that day. They tried to resuscitate him – nothing happened. And they took him off to hospital in the ambulance and miraculously he came back to life. And after that, he was like, 'I can't be a fireman anymore. I'm going to do something else'. And he went to college and now he's making books. So I was like, 'That's the most amazing story of how to become a book artist I've ever heard!' [Chuckles] But this is his Halliburton's code of ethics. It's actually made of what's called dissolvo paper – the cover is made out of sponge. So once you put the book into water, all you will have left – the pages disappear so all their promises will go, melt in the water, and you're just left with the cover and the comb binding.
This is Ann Tyler. She's an amazing American artist.
[The black and white photo of a short-haired woman smiles from the first page of a spiral book. The page is cut horizontally in thirds. The book's black title, visible in mirror-image through its thin yellow cover, reads It's no different than shooting at tin cans. The sketch of a can appears in the middle of the title, above the words 'tin cans'. The caption reads, 'It's no different than, Ann Tyler, USA. Tyler responds to killer Robert Acremant's claim that murdering a lesbian couple was "no different than shooting your chicken … or putting your dog to sleep or shooting at tin cans". The book's sections create an "exquisite corpse" in which the faces of his victims combine with the head of a dog and a chicken as the pages are turned. www.sararanchouse.com']
Sarah: Unfortunately, she doesn't have a website or anything. You can look at her stuff on Vamp & Tramp and you can contact her by email on the handout I've got. But her works are kind of very social-political statements. They're very quietly done. This is her It's no different than, where there was a man who was accused of killing a lesbian couple, who said, 'Shooting them is, like, no different to shooting a chicken or a dog'. And what she's done is kind of a flip book. So where the women's faces get replaced by the chickens or the dogs or tin cans, that he would say, 'It was no different than ...' And I've got more of her stuff. And this is hers as well. Her books – these kind of books – they look so beautiful, so they kind of suck you in and you're thinking, 'Oh, this is a delightful book, I really want to handle it', but when you actually start reading through it, it's all kind of souvenirs from mob lynchings in South America. So it's her way of making a very kind of hard political statement but actually doing it quite gently so you kind of almost consume her message without knowing it. This is another one of hers, Lubb dup, where ... [clears throat]
[In a broad ring-bound book, in the centre of the white left-hand page is a small red love heart with the words 'Guess who' written on it. The facing page is filled with the black and white photo of a young man's mouth, jaw and neck. The page is split in half down the middle, and about halfway down, a thin strip of tape runs across the split. Printed just under his mouth are the words, '... a tittering audience that obviously knew something he didn't'. The caption reads: 'Lubb dup, Ann Tyler, USA. There are two sounds with each heartbeat: the first sounds like "lubb", the second like "dup". A man who had surprised another by revealing a crush on him at a taping of a syndicated talk show was shot to death on Thursday, and the police say the object of the affections, a heterosexual angered by the display, has admitted the killing. NY Times. Interactive book using die-cuts, French doors, tunnel pages. 42pg + speciality pages + cover, wire bound. Offset, 1998. www.sararanchouse.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.']
Sarah: Excuse me. This is Lubb dup, where, you know, when they have, like, the Jeremy Kyle show – confessional TV shows – that she'd heard about it in the newspaper, there was a man who went on and another man who they pulled out, who was saying he had a crush on the other man, who didn't know about it, he was so enraged he actually went home, got his gun and shot the other man and killed him. So, again, it's very much a kind of political message that she's saying.
Bill Burns. [Laughs] He's the founder of the Museum of Safety Gear for Small Animals in Canada. He's a really cool guy. I would definitely say to have a look at his website because he's got so much work on it. And these are kind of some of the earlier pieces he was making where they really are made at-size for the animals. What he's trying to ask us is to actually think about how we treat our natural habitat and animals around us. So they're kind of very funny but they are very serious as well. The one with the suitcase, up the top, is where he's sort of saying about not only where you've got prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, this is his Boiler suits for primates kit where he's actually made a scale model ... of what prisoners are issued with when they go to Guantanamo Bay, but he's actually made for animals. And what he's saying is, apart from 'This is how you treat people', you also have to kind of think of the implications on the natural area and the locale of where you build prison camps. And these are some of his beautiful photographs. You can just make out the animals in them – of animals escaping from natural history, where they're actually escaping from the books they're meant to be in. And this is the second version of Boiler suits for primates where this is a kind of cheaper published book, which folds out like a blueprint, and again it's a list of all the things that you would get issued. He's made quite a few of these, where he's done footprints of animals wearing safety gear, so it's the same kind of blueprint, but what he's done is he's put the tracks in of them, you know, like a bird's track going through snow, wearing a helmet, where of course, whether it's wearing a helmet or not will make no difference to the tracks it makes in the snow. So he's just kind of getting you to think a bit.
This is Stephen Fowler, a British artist. I think they call him a kind of fake artist. He did go to college but he's kind of got this intuitive drawing style that just makes him actually quite unique, I think.
[Three battered record sleeves are arranged in a row. The first is white, with the title Dead or alive scrawled in thick black pen. The yellowing remains of sticky-tape run along the sides and bottom of the sleeve. The second sleeve has Crying to the sky scrawled in pen near the top. The green abel of the record inside shows through a circular hole in the middle. Above it a yellow sun and blue sky are sketched in texta. On the bottom left corner is a sketch of a person with long yellow hair gazing upwards and crying. The third sleeve is covered with a print of pink and red flowers. The name 'Lou Reed' is written on the top left corner and printed in large outlined letters over the strip of yellow tape running down the right hand side. The caption reads: 'Home made record sleeves vol 2, Stephen Fowler. A series of books documenting the artist's collection of home made record sleeves purchased from charity shops and the like.']
Sarah: But this is one of his books where he publishes his collection of found record covers, but the whole point of his project is that he goes around charity shops buying these second-hand record covers but they have to have been made by people. So they're not real record covers, they're actually ones where people have made them at home with, like, a bit of collage and a felt-tip pen. And he collects all these records and DJs with them, which is probably a kind of very extraordinary mess, considering the kind of things that he's collecting. And then he publishes these books as a kind of document.
[Pages and covers of old-fashioned books are arranged in uneven rows. They are mostly monochrome and many feature elaborate sketches and ornate titles. Near old-fashioned machinery, a bearded man gazes down at a printed design. The caption reads: 'Obscure small press publications and unfinished books, Stephen Fowler, exhibition and artist-in residence. 1st August –15th September 2011.']
Sarah: This is him. He came and did a residency in our centre last month, I think. So he was with us for the month and he brought the most amazing exhibition with him of his Obscure Small Press Publications, he called it, which was anything from kind of flyers on spiritualism to alien invasion, and had this lovely exhibition. And he's made three new prints from being with us. And this is one of his recent books as well, The owlman of Mawnan Smith.
[One of Stephen Fowler's pages is covered with the sketch of an owl with the title 'The owlman, evidence of things unseen' written across its torso. The facing page features a mass of scrawling swirls and curls in black. The caption reads: 'The owlman: evidence of things unseen, 2011 by Stephen Fowler. Drawings from memory and automatic drawings (above). Edition of 50, photocopy from hand drawings. 297 x 210 mm.']
Sarah: Mawnan Smith is a kind of wood in Cornwall, in Britain, and there's this myth that there's this kind of half-man, half-owl who lives in it. So he decided he'd camp out in the wood for the night and do some automatic drawings and see what happened.
And this is Francis Elliott of Foundry Press. He's a UK artist as well.
[On the green covers of a book, the title Dark globe appears at the top, and a small world map is printed down the bottom in black. Inside, maps are almost totally covered with black, with only a small patch of blue appearing in one corner. The white page borders feature the words 'The Middle East' and a colourful map key. The caption reads: 'Dark globe, Francis Elliott, Foundry (FND 037/08), 2009. www.franciselliott.com']
Sarah: This is one version of his Dark globe, which he said he's actually put together to prove how little anybody knows about anything. Basically, you can have the book made for you, which is the only way it exists, that you have to fill in this form online, which is like a tax assessment form. So it's got a list of all the countries and you have to tick the boxes of the countries you've been to, but it can't be a country that you've stopped over in an airport – you have to have spent at least one night there. And then what he'll do is he'll download that information and then you get a choice of you can have it as a book, a globe or a poster, and basically he'll black out everywhere that you've not been and then you realise that you actually haven't been anywhere at all.
[Dozens of globes covered in black, with only a few colourful country maps showing through hang from the ceiling of a gallery. In another photo, a black globe on a stand sits between a green and black world map and a box printed with the words 'Dark globe, Francis Elliott'. The caption reads: 'Dark globe – Enclosed systems installation at Bower Ashton, Francis Elliott, Foundry (FND 037/08), 2009. www.franciselliott.com']
Sarah: So this is an installation he did for our conference in 2008. Or was it 2009 actually, I think, where we did a conference towards the end of our project and he very kindly volunteered himself to do what he'd called his Dark globe enclosed systems, where he said that he would prove to our students how little we knew about anything. And he asks anyone in the building, any member of staff – basically anyone who's responsible for telling students anything they thought they should know – if they would fill out the forms, and then he made these globes and did them in a spiral so that the person who travelled the least was in the middle and they kind of came out, around. So we all had our own kind of version of how stupid we were. [Laughs] And this is another one of his books that he made ...
[On the cover of a slim bright orange book, a printed black rectangle contains a clear oval and the word Foundry. In the open book, a receipt for £5 is stapled to a bright orange page. A signature is scrawled on the facing page. The caption reads: 'Vector, Francis Elliott, UK. Using a till receipt to capture a specific moment in time, the book records location, time, date, artist, artwork and cost in a single transaction. Thermal print with card case, 2009. www.franciselliott.com']
Bodman: I can't remember. When was it? … 2009, when he came to the book fair that we ran and he said, 'I'm booking a stand but I just want a till on my stand. Just a till.' We're like, 'OK.' So that was his book, that you walked up to the till and you offered him some money, so it could be like from five pence to a pound, and he'd put the money into the till, press the button and it popped out with the till receipt and then he stapled it in the book, and that was your book.
Sarah: So the book was as valuable as the amount of money you were prepared to pay for it. This is Masumi Shibata's Karaoke. He's actually a Japanese artist but he lives in the USA now. And this is one of Preacher's Biscuit publications, who are really lovely publishers because they work with artists who don't make books and make books for them, and they fund it all themselves, publish them for them …
[Two book pages are covered with a grey photograph of circular rippling patterns. A row of short vertical lines runs along the base of the page. A series of words is printed above the row. Figures are scrawled in white at the bottom of the page. The caption reads: 'Karaoke by Masumi Shibata. Published by Preacher's Biscuit Books, USA. www.preachersbiscuitbooks.com']
Sarah: … and then kind of do it as a kind of ongoing project. They're amazing. This is one of their earlier publications when Masumi was actually getting really homesick and he wanted to do karaoke but he couldn't find anywhere in the States that did it. So he decided he'd make his own version. What the photographs in the book are – he put just a kind of flat tray of water on top of speakers, played his favourite songs, so the images are kind of the pattern of the vibrations of the song through the water and then he's put the words along the bottom so the idea is that you can sing along with him so he doesn't feel lonely.
And this is Spy Emerson, who's a performance artist based in California, in the USA. And she does what she calls her underground public library. So you can see it – she goes round with a tray like the old cigarette girls in the cinema.
[A bright yellow and red circus tent stands inside a warehouse. A frame holds an illuminated plastic horse high above the tent, and the words 'An underground public library' appear above the door. A photo shows a young woman carrying books on an old-fashioned tray that hangs from a strap around her neck. The books sit in a wooden drawer and the words 'An underground public library' are stamped on the tray. She wears a short tartan skirt and a red hat. The caption reads: 'Underground Public Library – Spy Emerson, USA. The Underground Public Library does not employ the Dewey decimal system, or require ID to borrow a book, the library deals strictly in trade. The offering must equal the asking, for example a cigarette for a look at the books, a box of chocolates to borrow one. www.spygirlfriday.com']
Sarah: And what she does – she makes her own books, puts them in the tray and goes around events. And people can have a book but they're not allowed to buy one or keep one. They have to trade for it. So if you've got a bar of chocolate or a packet of cigarettes or a comb or anything that she thinks she might like, she'll swap the book with you. I don't know if she eats the chocolate. She probably does. And then you have to promise that you'll give the book to somebody else.
[On a black book cover, a fluorescent pink figure holds a flag. Inside the flag is the title Ants have sex in your beer. The name 'David Shrigley' is scrawled below. On one page is the sketch of a woman with a huge body and tiny head and legs. On her torso are the words, 'This is how I feel. I know it is not how I look but that is unimportant. It is how I feel. That is important. And this is how I feel.' On the bottom half of the facing page is a sketch of a fierce-looking cat. On the top half are the words, 'Meow. (Give me food) Meow. (If you died, I would not care.) Meow. I would go and live next door. Meow. (You are a stupid old woman).' The caption reads: 'Ants have sex in your beer, David Shrigley, UK. David Shrigley is an elderly gentleman with white hair and one eye. He is acutely shy due to a speech impediment and spends almost all his time without human company. He lives in Scotland and spends most of his time drawing pictures and tending to his pet budgerigar. He says that the source material for his artwork comes to him in dreams. Redstone Press and Chronicle Books, 2007. http://davidshrigley.com/book_htmpgs/ants.htm]
Sarah: And David Shrigley, he's one of my favourite artists. He's actually from Scotland but he's probably very internationally known now. But he has this kind of comic approach to making artists' books. So these are just a few of his examples. This is gonna sound really weird on the audio recording of, like, people just laughing – 'Why are they laughing?' [Laughs] And my favourite, Time to choose – good, evil, don't know. [Laughs]
This is Heidi Neilson, an American.
[On the dark-brown cover of a book, the title Fake snow collection appears in white. Inside, a photo shows a model log cabin dwarfed by cotton balls surrounding it like snow. The facing page of text is titled The crystallography of snow. The caption reads: 'Fake snow collection, Heidi Neilson, 2010. Published by Visual Studies Workshop Press, NY, USA. Fake snow collection includes annotated images of 40 fake snow specimens, 17 topical readings accompanied by images of fake snow in use, and 24 samples of fake snow. www.heidineilson.com']
Sarah: She's a photographer and book artist. But she made this beautiful book which is her fake snow collection. So I've got a few close-ups for you of this because they're really beautiful. So, basically she built the set with the little cabin that you can see and then she applied every different kind of fake snow that she could find to it and photographed it to make this book.
[Pages are covered with neat rows of small plastic bags containing various types of fake snow. The bags are numbered.]
Sarah: And then at the end, she's put in little samples of the fake snow collection. It's really gorgeous. Yeah, I'm just going to show you two people who I think are probably kind of not-necessarily unknown but kind of underrated.
[A man with a shock of curly hair sits on a stool in a studio, his eyes on the open book in his hands. Sunlight shines across the walls and on the art materials.]
Sarah: John Bently is an amazing artist who's been making books since '84. And he said he was at art school and he was kind of wavering. He was like, 'I'm a poet, I'm a painter. I don't know what to do about that.' And then he just started making his own books and, for him, he said it was like this seminal moment where everything just fell into place.
[A black and white print depicts a man lifting a bulging sack onto a pile of sacks on a machine. The words Afterrabbit, Liver and the lights manifesto appear haphazardly above. The facing page is scatted with words of various sizes. The caption reads: 'Liver & Lights No.38, manifesto zine. John Bently and Afterrabbit. A free manifesto: When it comes to Jam, Shoes and Music - Hand Made is Best. www.liverandlights.co.uk']
Sarah: And he's never done anything much since. So he's got a real thing about kind of handmade, low-tech, actually publishing your book and getting it out to the people. I think, for him, it's really important that people see what he does. His books are kind of very affordable, very fun and very involved, and they quite often involve making books with other people, with an audience or kind of local community. So these are some of his books. This is his believing in handmade.
[A grey book has a colourful title reading Liver and lights number 10, the Ginge. It lies next to an open book featuring gloomy monochrome prints and a box of toys including a plastic fighter jet. The caption reads: 'Liver and lights no 10, the ginge, John Bently, 1990, www.liverandlights.co.uk.' The paint decorating a box looks thick and congealed. Against a dark blue background, a bright yellow angelic figure stands by a yellow tree. The box lies on a book. The caption reads: 'Liver & lights no 15, the border saint, John Bently, 1992. Moulded sculpture box, hand painted. About St Cuthbert and his contemporary relevance, possibly.']
Sarah: 'When it comes to shoes and jam, handmade is always best.' So these are some of his earlier books where he was kind of very painterly. [Laughs] He also does performance.
[Bent over near a drum kit, a man wears a silvery sequined top, black tights and pink-and-white-striped underwear with the word 'goodbye' spelled across them in colourful sequins. He lies sprawled near a light stand. Rose petals are scattered nearby. He wears silver platform boots. The caption reads, 'All of Bently's Liver & Lights book projects so far have also been translated into live performance pieces. One of John Bently's alter egos Hank Soake at his final character's performance. http://www.liverandlights.co.uk/afterrabbit.html']
Sarah: So, basically, he writes these stories of these characters in his books and then all the characters end up as these kind of alter egos that he can perform in public. We did ... In 2007, we did a kind of big day at Winchester School of Art where we kind of collaborated on this symposium for artists and we had talks about artists making stuff, and we thought we'd have a celebration of John Bently as well. And he said, 'Oh, well, I'll bring my band and we'll play at the end.' And I was like, 'Great! That sounds a fantastic idea.' So if you could imagine, you're all sitting here and he's playing with his band, which is all fine, and then we have, like, hundreds of librarians sitting in the audience and then John decides to, like, dive into the audience. And he was just scaring the hell out of everyone. So it was very funny but, you know, people were like, 'What's going on?' So this is him as Hank Soake. He's saying goodbye in his final performance as Hank Soake before he moves on.
[The screen is filled with 28 portraits in pale colours. Each portrait is labelled with a name. The caption reads, 'Liver & lights no. 43. The people, John Bently/Liver & Lights. www.liverandlights.co.uk']
Sarah: This is his latest project, called The people, where he's decided that there have been so many people that meant something to him in his life that he'd like to kind of make a record of it because they're his people, so he's been painting all these portraits. The portraits themselves are about that big.
[As she speaks, Sarah indicates the portraits are about 30 centimetres across.]
Sarah: And then he's been making a kind of digital copy of them and they all go into a box, so he says he won't stop until he's run out of people who are important to him. At the moment, I think he's on a hundred. And purchasing the box actually means that you'll get any refill that comes along. So as he adds more people, he will send them to you to put in your box. And the second person I want to talk about – and apologies for anyone who's going to Impact, 'cause I'm going to mention him again in my talk there – but this guy is absolutely amazing.
[A photo shows a road running through farmland, towards houses and a low hill on the horizon. In another photo, a white-bearded man sits at an outdoor table eating strawberries and cream, a vine grows across the wall behind him. The caption reads, 'Radoslaw Nowakowski at his home in the hamlet of Dabrowa Dolna, Poland. http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/poland.htm']
Sarah: Radoslaw Nowakowski is a writer and artist based in – I'm gonna say it – Dabrowa Dolna in Poland, which is a tiny, tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere. And he's been making books by himself since 1974.
[Two long books lie open on a table. Pages fold out like flaps form the top and bottom, revealing scrawled handwriting and buildings sketched in bright colours. A man holds a page open. The caption reads, 'The writer and artist Radoslaw Nowakowski talks about his own books and the development of artists' books over the last 20 years in Poland. http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/nowakowski2.htm']
Sarah: And this is one of his most, kind of, well-known books that he made, first of all as a kind of handmade book. I mean, Radek, as we call him, grew up in Poland when it was kind of under Communist rule, so he didn't actually have access to paper. It was illegal to publish books or make an edition of anything, so what he did was got a manual typewriter and paper that he smuggled in in his drum kit when he went to Germany to play in a band, and carbon paper, and he could make five copies of a book by typing really hard and then he would draw himself to kind of hand-illustrate around them. So this is his book of Sienkiewicza – I never get it right – Street in Poland, where he's actually done it so that ... Oops, sorry. I didn't want that. Basically, it unfolds into, like, a kind of ten-metre stretch replicating a street. So as it unfolds like this, you've got the houses on one side and the shops and then the houses on the other side and shops and it's one man walking down the street and every single thing he hears, in every language, as it's kind of ... this cacophony of sound as he goes down the street. And this is his Non-description of the hill …
[In an open book, words scroll in the shape of a snail shell in the corner of one page. On the facing page, a slit bisects a colour photo of a golden-brown field that runs to the base of the hill on the horizon. The caption reads: 'Nondescription of the hill, Radoslaw Nowakowski, Poland. Once I wrote: You, the mountain, you've hidden yourself behind the labyrinth of the leafless tree, got lost in the misty air. But I do have almost one hundred pictures taken almost from the same place, in different parts of a day and of a year. I will turn these pictures into subtle prints, cover them with unclear tales small as little clouds, tales about everything and nothing, written in three languages. And somebody wishing to see you will have to open noisily the paper window and go through it to the text or through the text to the picture or through the picture to the picture or through the text to the text. What do I make it for? This idea is so common among masters and fakers. But nobody has done it with this mountain. From this place. In this place. (Polish-English-Esperanto), open edition, 1999. www.liberatorium.com']
Sarah: ... which is actually in the exhibition at Impact. It's one of the books from the exhibition on landscape and nature, Life, the universe and everything. And he uses the mountain to kind of ask really big questions about the way we live, but he was saying, 'Well, what's so special about this mountain?' He said, 'Because it's my mountain and it's outside my window every day.' And as technology has moved on …
[Four photos reveal that some pages of Radoslaw Nowakowski's book feature text in various shapes, others feature photos. Some of the pages are cut in half or have flaps. The caption reads: 'Nondescription of the hill, Radoslaw Nowakowski.']
Sarah: ... Radek has gone from a manual typewriter to a really rubbish word processor, and then finally to computers. And now he works ... He still makes his books, publishes them himself. He said he's found the thing that he's been dreaming of since 1974 … something he wanted to do but didn't exist, and it's hypertext publishing.
[The top half of a page is covered with a patchwork of squares in various shades of blue, the bottom half in squares of green, yellow, brown and black. Symbols made of punctuation marks are printed in black on some of the squares. Between the two halves, Polish sentences are printed on a pale yellow bar. The caption reads: 'END OF THE WORLD according to EMERYK, Radoslaw Nowakowski, Poland. www.liberatorium.com/emeryk/emeryk.html']
Sarah: So if you go to his website, there are two hypertext novels there that you can actually go through. Obviously they'll only exist on the computer and you can't print them out. But these are some of the pages from them.
[A photo of the sky is scattered with blocks of text in Polish. The words are in various sizes and colours. The caption reads: 'END OF THE WORLD according to EMERYK, Radoslaw Nowakowski, Poland. www.liberatorium.com/emeryk/emeryk.html']
Sarah: And he also said he's got a button in there ...
[Running down the centre of a grey page, chunks of Polish text are separated by chunks of text reading 'Ha ha ha' repeatedly. The words 'ha ha ha' grow bigger, then smaller. The caption reads: 'END OF THE WORLD according to EMERYK, Radoslaw Nowakowski, Poland. www.liberatorium.com/emeryk/emeryk.html']
Sarah: He's got a thing in both of them that if you press the wrong tab on the keyboard to go to a particular link, it'll throw you right back out to the beginning so you have to start all over again.
[Blocks of colour are scattered throughout a grid of Polish words. The words and the blocks are in shades of blue, yellow and grey. The caption reads: 'END OF THE WORLD according to EMERYK, Radoslaw Nowakowski, Poland. www.liberatorium.com/emeryk/emeryk.html']
Sarah: Basically, the Emeryk one is a story … I think there's a local legend about a statue called Emeryk, who was a saint, I think, and there's a statue and they were saying, one day, they predict, that the statue will move itself up to the top of this mountain and the day it gets to the top will be Armageddon. So this story is about the statue slowly moving up the mountain and everything in nature deciding whether or not it's going to help him to bring on Armageddon or not. So the story is kind of ... it's from everyone's perspective – from people, the statue, the insects, the river. It's a really amazing story. And now just for some generally beautiful books. This one is actually in the exhibition Impact as well.
[The pages of an open book are covered with close-up photos of plants. One page has rough letters cut across the middle of it. The caption reads: 'Trail, Finlay Taylor, Pupa Press, screenprint with snail intervention, 2002. http://finlaytaylor.info']
Sarah: This is Finlay Taylor's Trail, which I've got a close-up of. It's screen-printed. Initially an edition of 10. And then he put the pages out in the garden and painted them with a solution so that the snails in the garden have actually spelt out the text of everything that eats them.
[The words 'The weight' run in large capitals across the pages of a large book.]
Sarah: This is some of his other works with snails. This one, again he put the pages out so that the snails have eaten through the text saying, 'The weight,' which kind of implies that they have this kind of knowledge and kind of presence of being so they can actually think about the heaviness of their life.
These are by the Danish artist Mette-Sofie D Ambeck. This is an installation she did at the Doverodde artists' book festival this year where she made hundreds of these beautiful paper birds, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's film, just flying from the ceiling. And at the end of the festival, everyone got to take a bird away with them. I'm going to show you two books, actually, that she made with us as part of Tom Sowden's project, who I work with. He had some AHRC, which is like government funding, money to run a project looking at how laser cutting could be utilised by artists, not really as a tool but actually as a kind of very creative thing that people could do more with, rather than just saying, 'Oh, I use it to cut something.' This is a book that she ... that Mette made ages ago and she made one copy only because she cut it by hand, burnt it. She was going to make an edition of ten but the first book took her a year to finish, so she just kind of gave up. So there was always only one copy. So Tom invited her to do a residency and the idea was that she would actually be able to make this book in the edition of ten she'd always wanted to. So this is her putting it together. So you can see the kind of intricacy of how all the pages overlay through laser cutting. It's actually a Danish creation myth of steam, salt and milk and how the gods built the Earth from it. And that book actually, she was really happy 'cause when she'd finished the book she took it off to the London Art Book Fair and it won the Birgit Skiöld prize, so she was a happy bunny from that. When she'd finished it, she actually had a bit of spare time with Tom, so she decided to make this book, which is really beautiful as well. It's called Day return.
[A book cover looks like it is made out of unbleached recycled paper, with a thick, dark-brown border. The title Day return is also dark brown. Below, a photo shows blurred horizontal movement. A third photo shows a woman gazing at a length of folded grey card with dark and light blotches on it. The next screen shows this card in detail. The caption reads: 'Day return, Mette-Sofie D Ambeck, Denmark, 2010. www.ambeckdesign.blogspot.com']
Sarah: You can see the kind of video image. She made a very short ... I think it was, like, a one-minute video when she was on a tube train, when they come out of the tunnel and go overland, so you can just see the lights flashing past. And she recorded that and took the light parts of the film and made them into a digital file. And this was then laser-etched into black Somerset Satin. So if you hold the book up, you get this kind of beautiful translucent effect.
This is the Russian artist Dmitry Sayenko. He describes himself as a medieval artist.
[A dark-red woodcut shows a figure with a gaping mouth, its large hands reaching towards half of a banknote stuck in the top right corner. Text reads: Some people feed their money: they open its mouth and shove the fattest pieces of their food in. The caption reads: 'Moneyria, Dmitry Sayenko, 2004 … 11 cardboard pages with woodcuts and English text, with Russian banknotes from 1922-1948. Edition of 6 copies. 20 x 10 cm. http://nikodim-press.blogspot.com.au']
Sarah: He uses computers, he's got his own website. He says he likes to produce his books in the same way as in medieval times, so he doesn't use any digital, it's all sort of hand-cut, hand-printed, and quite often using his own paper as well.
[A woodcut shows three small figures holding a large frame above their heads. Thin vertical bars cover one half of the frame which also contains a brown bank note. Text reads: Some people frame a banknote, put it on the wall and worship it. It has the same caption as the previous image.]
Sarah: So for things like Moneyria, he also used Russian bank notes that had gone out of circulation recently and incorporated those into the paper he made for the book. They're amazing objects.
[A banknote is stuck in the centre of a page. Above it text reads: As if it were an icon. The words 'an icon' are very large, reddish-brown and are printed partially across the banknotes. This image has the same caption as the previous images.]
Sarah: This is his ABC of ... What's that word?
[The next screen shows four sets of pages from the book, each featuring a large red letter in the top left corner, the first letter of the phobia that is illustrated on that page. The phobias listed include 'Verminophobia is a fear of germs', 'Pogonophobia, fear of beards', 'Peladophobia, fear of bald people', 'Cnidophobia, fear of stings' and 'Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, or fear of the number 666.' The caption reads: 'Absurd ABC, Dmitry Sayenko, Russia, 2009. 20 double pages of wood-cuts & linocuts, in an edition of 10. http://nikodim-press.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/abc-of-fears-famous-peoples...']
Sarah: His ABC of phobias. And then ...
[The next screens shows four similar sets of pages, which also include paragraphs about the phobias. The caption reads: 'The ABC of fears, famous people's phobias. Text and images by Dmitry Sayenko. 2011. 61 pages: colour lino/woodcuts. Handmade paper & printing by author. Leather cover, special slipcase. http://nikodim-press.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/abc-of-fears-famous-peoples...']
Sarah: … his ABC of famous people's fears. They're all so beautifully made. I showed you at the beginning some books about books. Well, here are a couple of books made by artists about other artists' books, just to mess with everyone's heads. This is the Norwegian artist Kurt Johannessen, who's an amazing performance artist and book artist.
[In a photo, a man in a black suit stands barefoot near a glacier. He holds one hand closed near his chest. The caption reads: 'To keep a dead fly in the hand just in front of a glacier, Kurt Johannessen. Ved Nigardsbreen, Jostedalen, 5 September 2009 (50 minutes). www.zeth.no']
Sarah: I would definitely have a look on his website because there's just so much on it. And this is one of his performances which is to hold a dead fly, in front of a glacier, in his hand. And he stood there for two hours and 58 minutes. He hasn't got any shoes on. It's freezing. But, again, this was him asking you to think about the glacier – so you've got the might of the glacier, which is very powerful but actually very, very slow, and the might of the fly. So it's really kind of thinking of the intricacies of nature again. And this is his book Flying stones. [Chuckles] He does a lot of books where, again, it's a bit like the Bill Burns thing, where he's kind of trying to engage with you and make it funny but he's actually telling different stories. He made another book called Steinar, which is just ... you open the pages and it's just a picture of a stone inside each one and the title of a fairytale. But for a week, he went around an island and he'd pick up a particular stone and tell it a fairytale about trolls. And this is his book Exercises, which is tiny – about that big.
[On a grey screen, the word 'Exercises' appears in the middle of a white square. Text reads: Climb to the top of a high mountain. Try to stand on your head. Then climb back down. Bake a bread that looks like an airplane. Kiss the wind. Follow a snail for a day. Talk friendly to all butterflies you meet. See if there are any letters for you the next day. The caption reads: 'Exercises, Kurt Johannessen. www.zeth.no/boker.shtml#EXERCISES']
Sarah: It is also in the exhibition at Impact. And he says it's a book of exercises you can put into your pocket so you can practise them at any time. But he also says it's a book of exercises that hardly anyone has ever tried. But I thought that I would try one of his exercises. So one of them was write 100 short stories and bury them in the forest. So I did. So I got my exercise book and I wrote 100 short stories and I took a trowel.
[A children's exercise book lies on a cloth next to a corroded old-fashioned trowel.]
Sarah: These are the titles of the stories that I wrote. I was quite tempted to actually …
[A page is covered with a list of 100 names.]
Sarah: … make a document of the stories, but then I thought, 'If you're meant to bury them in a forest, that's really mean because it takes away the whole point of doing it.' And we were going to the Doverodde Book Festival in Denmark, so I thought I would take the book with me.
[A photo shows the exercise book in a hole dug on a grassy slope. The caption reads: 'An exercise for Kurt Johannessen, free download self-assembly book: http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/kurtj10.htm. Photograph by Paul Laidler.']
Sarah: And it's kind of close to Norway as I was going to get, so that I would bury the book in the forest in Norway. And then when we got there, I thought I'd be so tempted the year after to go back and dig it up and see if there was anything left, so I actually got other members of the group to bury it for me and photograph the evidence. And these are some books I'm going to show you by Tom Sowden and Michalis Pichler. Tom, who I work with at CFPR, has been joining forces with Michalis, who's a Berlin-based conceptual artist, and both of them discovered that they were both making appropriations of Ed Ruscha's books, so this exhibition is actually also on at Impact called Follow-ed.
[In a book, the three words 'fortynine', 'coach', seats' are printed in large black letters on the top, middle and bottom of a page, respectively. Similarly, on the facing page, the three words 'twentysix', 'gasoline', stations' are printed in red. The caption reads: 'Fortynine coach seats, Tom Sowden, 2003. Perfect bound book, digital print, edition of 49, 180 x 140 mm. Twentysix gasoline stations, Michalis Pichler, 2009. Perfect bound book, 36 pp, offset-printed edition of 600, 180 x 140 mm.']
Sarah: And it's literally about the huge amount of artists who've made books in the style of Ed Ruscha. So these are some of the examples. This is Tom's Fortynine coach seats and Michalis' Twentysix gasoline stations. People do it so much. This is actually made by the curators at the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
[On a white book cover, the words 'Various blank pages' are printed in black at the top, middle and bottom respectively. A hand holds open the book – the pages are blank. The caption reads: 'Various blank pages and ink, Doro Boehme and Eric Baskauskas, 2009. Perfect bound book, digital print, edition of 500, 205 x 150 mm.']
Sarah: They decided that they would make a book called Various blank pages, which this book contains all the blank pages from all the Ed Ruscha books in their collection, so it's just a huge series of blank pages from every single book they have of his, only validated at the end by their library stamp. And this is Tom's Some of the buildings on the Sunset Strip rather than all the buildings on the Sunset Strip …
[The title The sunset strip is printed in small letters at the top of a white book cover. Inside, numbered photos of city buildings run across the top and bottom of the pages. The photos running along the bottom are upside down. The caption reads: 'Some of the buildings on the sunset strip, Tom Sowden, 2008. Concertina format book, digital print interior pages, screenprinted cover, edition of 30, 180 x 140 mm, extending to 15ft.']
Sarah: … which folds out into an enormous concertina, just like the original. It's called Some of the buildings because we were trying to drive up the Sunset Strip so he could photograph it, but what we didn't realise was that the Sunset Strip was about 50 metres on Sunset Boulevard, which is actually 12 miles long, so we have quite a longer book than we expected.
[A number of books are laid out on a dark surface. A hand holds up a book featuring a drawing of an otter on the cover. The title is in German. The caption reads: 'Six hands and a cheese sandwich, Michalis Pichler. Ruscha der Fischotter aka: Printed matter and other visible things on paper not necessarily meant to be viewed as after Ruscha aka: one hundred views of one hundred views of Mount Fuji, if someone says so aka: Six hands and a cheese sandwich is a book about books, a catalogue and an art/bookwork in its own right. www.buypichler.com/books']
Sarah: And this is Michalis' statement. Actually it's quite a nice one just to look through because Michalis has written a really nice essay, that's published on Printed Matter website, of appropriations saying that artists are appropriating Ed Ruscha, but Michalis' theory is that Ed Ruscha was appropriating Hokusai because of his, was it, 26 views of Mount Fuji. If you look at Ed Ruscha's work, it's very kind of parallel in that repeat pattern. So this is the show installed at Winchester.
[In a gallery, a typewriter and a number of small cacti stand on a wooden desk. The desk's top drawer is open. Books line shelves on the wall. The caption reads: 'Follow-ed (after Hokusai), curated by Tom Sowden and Michalis Pichler. The Winchester Gallery, Winchester School of Art campus, UK. 22 February – 10 March 2011.']
Sarah: So the idea was that the books could all be handled in the environment of Ed. And there's a copy of the typewriter that they threw out the window for a Royal road-test.
[A set features a bedroom that includes greenery on the folded down bed, oil tins and a bookshelf of books all titled Crackers. The caption reads: 'The specially built stage set at Arnolfini for the Salad dressing photo-shoot, and exhibition of Follow-Ed.']
Sarah: And this is the setting in Arnolfini, in Bristol, where Tom worked with a performance re-enactment society to make a new version of Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams' book Crackers. And in the original Crackers, you get this guy who lures this woman to a kind of skid-row hotel and asks her what kind of salad dressing she prefers and then pours salad dressing over her. And they were thinking, 'Well, that's kind of a weird book.' So they did this kind of re-appropriation of it where they built this kind of hotel room in the gallery and then they had a photo shoot where the Re-enactment Society did the book again …
[A black and white photo shows a young man in a tuxedo smoking a cigar, his arm draped over the shoulders of a young woman in an evening dress. She wears huge satin-y rosettes over her ears. Her face looks glum. They sit in the back seat of an old-fashioned car. The caption reads: 'One of the stills from the photo shoot for Salad dressing.']
Sarah: ... in a kind of magazine-story style but they actually gave it a different ending. So at the ending of this one, the couple end up with her in the lettuce – she's made a lettuce dress – and they both escape instead of …
[In a bright yellow square, the words Salad dressing appear inside a black diamond. A photo shows a grinning man wearing a velvet jacket and lettuce as a bowtie. On his arm is a woman in a dress made of lettuce. They're in a crowded room. The caption reads: 'Salad dressing. An artist's book by the Performance Re-enactment Society (PRS) and Tom Sowden. Cover-ed was a series of curatorial and creative interventions over April 2011 at Arnolfini, Bristol around Ed Ruscha and Mason Williams' iconic 1969 photo bookwork Crackers. Their bookwork was the script, score and instruction for a new artist's book Salad dressing, produced through a photo shoot in a specially built set at Arnolfini, with an online video ending. www.tomsowden.com']
Sarah: … having to be poured with salad dressing. But they've actually made a book between them as well. And this is almost the last one, where we made a video book as well for Ed Ruscha.
[Models of household objects are grouped together, including an oven, an iron, a tap, a pipe and a kettle. The caption reads: 'No Dutch details, Tom Sowden and Sarah Bodman, 2011. A video-book tribute to Ed Ruscha's Dutch details whilst travelling (Ed Ruscha, Dutch details, Deventer, The Netherlands: Stichting Octopus / Sonsbeek 71, 1971). Produced using only miniature props on an intercity train from Amsterdam to Enschede, The Netherlands (which stopped at Deventer) between 19.47 and 20.00 on Sunday 16th January 2011. www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/nodutchc.htm']
Sarah: Tom and I were working in Holland and we realised that one of Ed Ruscha's books was published in Deventer, which was called Dutch details, and we were getting the train from the airport to where we were working so we thought, 'OK, let's do something really stupid on the train', so we decided that we would make a video book of every single one of Ed Ruscha's books but only using miniature toy props or anything that we'd found. So it's called No Dutch details because it didn't quite work. Well, it did work but it wasn't what it should be. [Laughs]
[A webpage features a photo of a studio where a man sits working at a large table. Above him, text reads, 'The University of the West of England, department of creative arts. Book arts'.
Sarah: And that is pretty much it. I just wanted to say, if there's anything you're interested in, you can have a look on our website …
[The web address http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk appears above Sarah Bodman.]
Sarah: … where we've got everything, and I've also put up a PDF of the talk and of the notes if anyone wants to download them from there. Thank you.
[The logos for the State Library of Victoria and the State Government of Victoria appear on a black screen.]
'That's the most amazing story of how to become a book artist I've ever heard!'
- Sarah Bodman
About this video
Proving that books and words inspire writers and artists alike, Sarah Bodman takes us through the world of artists' books.
The creative results of using the book as an art form range from online, video and performance-based publications to collage, conceptual art and offbeat humour.
Shredded romance novels, confronting political statements and books purely for fun prove that anything goes when artists use ‘the book’ as their creative launch pad.
Never one to judge a book by its cover, Sarah Bodman runs projects investigating and promoting contemporary book arts.
Sarah Bodman is Senior Research Fellow for Artists' Books at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR).
She is also Programme Leader for MA Multi-disciplinary Printmaking at the Bower Ashton Campus.
Sarah is the editor of the Artist's Book Yearbook a biennial reference publication on contemporary book arts, published here by Impact Press.
She is also the editor of the Book Arts Newsletter and The Blue Notebook journal for artists’ books.